Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It is time to FREE TriMet

With the looming cuts to service and increase in fares for the TriMet system (TriMet budget-balancing plan: Longer waits, higher fares) It time to rethink TriMet at all levels and make sure that we have a 21st century public transit system.

We should start by making Trimet FREE!!!

What I propose is that we increase the payroll tax that supports TriMet enough to cover the 24% of the TriMet budget that currently comes from fares.  We try this for one year and then let people vote to keep the free yet higher tax system or revert back to the older system with yearly increasing fares and services cuts.

This would not just benefit people who use TriMet.  Drivers would see an additional benefit of less congested roads which would make travel time in a car shorter and possible safer.  We would also see improvements in air quality that would benefit everyone!

So what do you think?  Would it be worth trying an experiment to see what a free public transit system would be like?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Everyone Hates The Fed!

I was approved for a Kickstarter project today!

My project is to write an eBook about the history of American public opinion towards the Federal Reserve tentatively titled "Why Everyone Hates The Fed!"  

While working on a survey I did of Occupy Portland I noticed that many people would write comments about the Fed.  I found this curious since anti-fed rhetoric tends to be more of conservative/libertarian talking point.  Yet my research would appear to indicate that this might be an area of agreement between the Occupy Wall-street and the Tea Party.

The Federal Reserve has always been at least somewhat controversial.  The mission of the fed is not well understood even by people who are otherwise knowledgeable about our government.  Honestly unless you work for the Fed, I doubt you truly understand what it does.  This has created a pretty impressive number of conspiracy theories that would be funny if they were not a troubling sign of how misinformed the public might be.

The Fed is also a bit odd in that it is the central bank for the United States but parts of it are privately owned.  It technically is a public agency, yet congress had limited oversight of it.  It has a dual mandate of price stability and full employment in the economy but these goals often conflict.  I think the Fed is probably the most important and least understood government institution in the world.

I am still working on the details of the project but biggest thing I wanted to do is get enough funding to do original research on the current public opinion in regards to the fed.  This would require a minimum on $20,000 to do a nationwide survey and closer to $200,000 to do a comprehensive survey that would allow for cross-state comparison.  I have no idea if this is reasonable at all.

I have a feeling getting up to $5,000 would be doable.  Any more than that might be asking way too much.

So what do you think?  Can I raise enough to make this project worthwhile?